Champlain Housing Trust Wins Habitat Award

The United Nations will award the Champlain Housing Trust a World Habitat Award during this fall's celebration of World Habitat Day in Luanda, Angola. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Peter Welch joined Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss and the housing trust board of directors in making the announcement on Monday in Burlington. The Champlain Housing Trust, then known as the Burlington Community Land Trust, was launched in 1984, when Sanders was mayor. It was an experiment in slowing gentrifica

The United Nations will award the Champlain Housing Trust a World Habitat Award during this fall's celebration of World Habitat Day in Luanda, Angola. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Peter Welch joined Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss and the housing trust board of directors in making the announcement on Monday in Burlington. The Champlain Housing Trust, then known as the Burlington Community Land Trust, was launched in 1984, when Sanders was mayor. It was an experiment in slowing gentrification of urban neighborhoods and providing housing for people with low or moderate incomes. "When I was mayor I thought the concept of a community land trust made a whole lot of sense and could be very effective," Sanders said. "I never thought it would be as enormously successful as it has been and a model emulated throughout the world."

Sanders has been a leader in improving access to housing. A national Affordable Housing Trust Fund, first proposed by Sanders seven years ago when he was a member of the House of Representatives, was part of legislation the Senate approved and sent to the White House on Saturday.

UN Habitat, a United Nations agency, recognizes effective models of providing shelter worldwide. One award is given annually to a project from the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere.

"This award is a terrific honor for the Champlain Housing Trust, which has long been known around Vermont and across the country as a model of how affordable housing should work," said Welch. "I look forward to working with the Champlain Housing Trust to increase housing affordability and availability for Vermonters."

"The Champlain Housing Trust is honored to be recognized among the best of the best, and we are thrilled to have this award to share with all of our partners that are so committed to permanently affordable housing," said CEO Brenda Torpy. "In this time where newspaper headlines scream about the housing slump, sub-prime mortgages, foreclosures, and now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Housing Trust is a true success story."

The Champlain Housing Trust is a community land trust that supports strong, vital communities in northwest Vermont through the development and stewardship of affordable homes and community assets. More than 2,100 families and individuals live in Housing Trust homes. In 2007, the organization's efforts resulted in 117 new homebuyers, amounting to almost $20 million in mortgage commitments. In addition to mortgages, the Housing Trust is leveraging a $59.4 million investment in real estate development, with a pipeline that will create or preserve 320 affordable apartments and owner-occupied homes in the next 18 months.

To learn more about the Champlain Housing Trust, click here.